Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) has added a new wrinkle to its 4G development program. Not only is it encouraging early development of applications and devices for its forthcoming long-term evolution network, it’s partnering with some of technology’s biggest venture capitalists to fund many of those of the new ideas.
The carrier announced today the creation of the 4G Venture Forum (4GVF), a collaboration between Verzion and several investment firms with a total of $1.3 that could be potentially tapped for new ideas keying off of mobile broadband networks of the future–not just Verizon’s and not necessarily just LTE networks. The funded companies won’t be contractually obligated to work with exclusively–or at all–with Verizon, meaning their innovations could apply equally to AT&T’s (NYSE:T) forthcoming LTE network. Nor are they limited to working with LTE, meaning Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) or even 3G providers could benefit from whatever emerges from the fund.
The venture firms are Charles River Partners, New Ventures Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Alcatel-Lucent Ventures, the investment arm of one of Verizon’s primary vendors. Both of VZW’s radio network suppliers Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) will work with 4GVF to provide their technical expertise and Verizon itself, of course, will contribute access to the network.